Looking for Inspiration at Cebu Literary Festival 2016

It has been an interesting Saturday for me. For the first time, I actually sat in this year’s Cebu Literary Festival held in Ayala Center. There are so many reasons to join the LitFest, or the LitFests in the next years.

But for me, there was one reason why I dragged myself out of the house (which I rarely do considering I “work” at home) and came to the event — that is — I was searching for inspiration. A creative one.


Ethan with backdrop saying "I'm in love with cities I've never been to and people I've never met."

iRelate (I related)

The past few days had been sort of gloomy for me. I felt like my creative and enthusiastic days are coming to an end. Oh wait… It’s the last quarter of the year. No wonder. Seasonal affect disorder.

Well, back to Cebu LitFest.

November 26 2016. It was a whole-day event. I saw the line-up of programme, and it seemed to me that it would be interesting considering the variety of activities and topics. But I was really looking forward to the Travel Writing panel discussion portion.

Books, Stationery Supplies and More!

some of the items sold at the Cebu LitFest 2016

Shopping at the venue of Cebu LitFest … oh my…

As I expected, there were stuff being sold in the venue. When it comes to books, graphic novels and journal supplies, it is really hard for me to resist. I’m kind of broke. Damn.

book, stickers, washi tapes and journal bought during the Cebu LitFest

Waaah! hashtag Cashburn. I can’t resist.
Never regret spending for things that make you happy…. repeat to self one million times. Haha

Graphic novels by Paolo Herras

… and I posted this on Instagram with the caption, “please buy me one or two or…. i’m already broke. huhuhu”
… Did I buy one? Secret. You’ll know later though. *tongue*

Travel Writing Discussion

I did plan to attend from the beginning to the end. But then, my body betrayed me and I woke up a bit late but just in time for the Travel Writing session.

Ethan watching Travel Writing panel discussion

Just in time! :D yeah, I think I said it already.

It was the first time I attended a LitFest (I think it’s their third year now) so I don’t have any clue how a panel discussion would go. But anyway, the setup turned out to be familiar to me.

In the end, the discussion was enriching for me. With guest speakers Jona Bering (Backpacking with a Book), Estan Cabigas (Langyaw) and Jude Bacalso (popular host and writer), I gained some new insights on writing (in general) as well as affirmed the ones that I once believed or that I am barely holding to now.

guest speakers for travel writing


Here are some things that you might also think about as a blog writer.

“You have to be found in order to be read.”
~ Estan

On the importance of SEO for bloggers. In today’s world, you may be a good writer but if your target readers can’t find you, your reader base won’t be growing. Almost all people nowadays use search engine to find stuff.

“Perspectives are different but realities are the same”
~ Jude

On how people are all the same despite being in different countries. I totally agree. I can still remember how my fears (or anxieties) about Muslims got totally dissolved after my accidental-solo trip in Malacca, Malaysia via KLIA2. I hate the /packing/ mainstream media.

“You have to be responsible with the stories you tell.”
~ Jude

On being honest with your writing especially with the popularity of social media. This is also one of the things I believe in. In fact, I got a few guys who tell me they like the way I blog because my posts are “genuine”. I’m not sure how to fully explain that though.

“Read good books”
~ Jona

This is one of the two tips she gave to the audience. But I have yet to develop a regular reading habit. *sad face*

“Be humble”
~ Jona

Her second tip. She actually gave a longer statement, which I liked but I forgot the exact words. The point is that as a traveller, don’t look down on people who haven’t travelled.

Author Signing and Dedications! *heart*

I really don’t know what got into me. I shocked my introverted, shy self by approaching the authors of the books I just bought. I must have really looked awkward because I knew I was shaking. Ooooh, the perils of going solo.

But anyway, it was fun for me. An experience. I think these are my 3rd and 4th signatures of my life. *grins*

photograph with author Jona Bering

My hands are shaking. with Ms. Jona Bering, author of Alang sa Nasaag

signed book for Jonathan from Ms. Jona Bering, author of Alang sa Nasaag

I’m so happy! [Rough translation on dedication: People whose name start with “J” are often bitten by wanderlust. Thanks, thanks. — waaah, I don’t know if my translation gave justice to the original]

Photo with Paolo Herras of Strange Native

I am really shy. I couldn’t say a word to ask for a photo with Mr. Paolo Herras. Plus the people around me. waaah. … and my camera sucks… so do I. oops

signed copy of Strange Natives by Paolo Herras

You may have guessed by now, I bought a graphic novel! Hahaha. I’ll worry about my money later. I’m so happy, I have authographs and dedications *love*

More Events

This is an event for anything literary at all. Poems, theatres, graphic novels, etc. The other sessions were not familiar to me but I decided to stay and see what happens.

Boy I am so glad I stayed until the end. *happy*

John Ilagan of LoudMouth at Cebu Litfest 2016

John Ilagan, spoken poet — OMG…. pwede ma-crush?! Hahaha. [translation: can I have a crush on him?! Haha]

Vim Nadera

Mr. Nadera

Panel Discussion on Poetry and Spoken Word

Poetry and Spoken Word

Session to discuss protest literature

Protest Literature

panel discussion on adaptation of theater and graphic novel into film

Page to Screen discussion — i love the trailers! *heart*

theatre discussion with Resil Mojares


Cebuano zarzuela by Minggoy Lopez excerpts

excerpts of Cebuano zarzuela by Minggoy Lopez

brothers - Cebuano zarzuela by Minggoy Lopez excerpts

two brothers

man and child - Cebuano zarzuela by Minggoy Lopez excerpts

Can anyone tell me what the girl sang? It’s a song that has been lingering in my head since I was a child but I cannot Google it to know the title (or perhaps watch a Youtube video) — yeah, my childhood is gay. *bleh*

lovers - Cebuano zarzuela by Minggoy Lopez excerpts


sad woman - Cebuano zarzuela by Minggoy Lopez excerpts


Cebuano zarzuela by Minggoy Lopez excerpts

zarzuela performer male
zarzuela performer male
zarzuela performer girl
zarzuela performer male
zarzuela guitarist
zarzuela performer female
zarzuela performer female

Open Mic

The last part of the event is where people can share their poems or songs and present them on stage. They’ve been doing this kind of event several times before, but it was my first time to sit down for one. I felt bad for the other guys who weren’t able to present though because it was past 10 PM already.

john ilagan - spoken word poet


open mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Open Mic performer

Did I Find the Inspiration I Was Looking For?

Maybe. I couldn’t say “completely” though.

But what I’m sure is that I was having a good time. My mind is also loaded with ideas now on what I can possibly do about certain creative projects that have been looming in my head.

I was happy to have attended Cebu LitFest 2016. I guess I’ll be attending a few more creative events after this. We’ll see.

So help me, Universe.

For the time being, let me use some of my LitFest haul unto my planner. *love*

planner page with sticker and washi tape

woohoo! *love*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *